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J Rehabil Med. 2005 Nov;37(6):358-64.

Erectile dysfunction in spinal cord injury: a cost-utility analysis.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue E240, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5, Canada.



There is a high incidence of erectile dysfunction after spinal cord injury. This can have a profound effect on quality of life. Treatment options for erectile dysfunction include sildenafil, intracavernous injections of papaverine/alprostadil (Caverject), alprostadil/papaverine/phentolamine ("Triple Mix"), transurethral suppository (MUSE), surgically implanted prosthetic device and vacuum erection devices. However, physical impairments and accessibility may preclude patient self-utilization of non-oral treatments.


The costs and utilities of oral and non-oral erectile dysfunction treatments in a spinal cord injury population were examined in a cost-utility analysis conducted from a government payer perspective. Subjects with spinal cord injury (n=59) reported health preferences using the standard gamble technique.


There was a higher health preference for oral therapy. The cost-effectiveness results indicated that sildenafil was the dominant economic strategy when compared with surgically implanted prosthetic devices, MUSE(R) and Caverject. The incremental cost-utility ratios comparing sildenafil with triple mix and vacuum erection devices favoured sildenafil, with ratios less than CAN$20,000 per quality adjusted life year gained.


Based on this study, we conclude that sildenafil is a cost-effective treatment for erectile dysfunction in the spinal cord injury population.

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